ATV accidents are no joke. 100 Canadians died every year between 2013 and 2019 due to ATV accidents. An accident can lead to broken bones, brain injuries, and other devastating wounds.
Yet it is not difficult to start avoiding getting into accidents. All you need to do is learn about ATV mistakes and take basic steps to avoid collisions.
What should you do as you’re learning how to ride ATVs? What is regular ATV maintenance like? What are the causes of accidents, and how can you avoid them?
Answer these questions and you can enjoy safe rides on your ATV for years to come. Here are five common mistakes beginners make on ATV – aka don’t do these:
1. Going Too Fast Too Soon
Some ATVs can go up to 150 kilometres per hour. You may be tempted to take your ATV up to high speeds, and you can go fast once you’ve gathered some experience.
However, if you’re learning how to ride ATVs, you should take your vehicle a lot slower. The faster you go, the more likely you are to get into an accident.
As you’re starting out, you should cap your speed at 20 kilometres per hour. Focus on learning how to steer your ATV and what happens when you hit a bump.
It is okay to accelerate while you are on your ATV. But you should slowly apply pressure on the throttle instead of forcing it down all the way. Once you reach the speed you want, you should take the pressure off.
It can be hard to determine what your stopping distance is. When you see something you want to avoid, you should try steering away from it. When you need to brake, apply the brakes as soon as possible and ease into the stop.
2. Not Wearing a Helmet
You should always wear a helmet whenever you are driving an ATV. You can get a head injury from falling out of your seat or hitting your head on the handle, even if you don’t collide with another object.
Your helmet should fit comfortably over the top of your head. You can secure it to your head with a strap that goes around your chin or neck. The helmet can come with a visor, or you can wear eye goggles to protect your eyes.
You should also wear other pieces of ATV safety gear. Knee pads and elbow pads can protect you when you go over bumps or turn around in your seat. Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt will protect your limbs from debris.
3. Not Maintaining Your ATV
ATVs can last around 20 years if you take care of them properly. Your ATV has an air filter that helps the engine run. You should check to see that the filter is clean, and you should replace the filter if it is too dirty.
Your engine also relies on oil, which can collect gunk, even after one drive. You should replace the oil at least once every season, and you should check the oil before every drive to see if any debris is caught in it.
Look underneath your ATV and see if all the bolts are secure. If you have a loose bolt, you can tighten it with household tools. You should grease your bolts so they turn properly without creating friction.
Clean your ATV after you go through water or mud. Mud and dirt can become trapped in your vehicle and damage it.
4. Leaving Your ATV Unattended
If you must step away from your ATV, you need to turn the engine off. An unattended ATV can move forward and collide with something.
You should also be mindful of thefts. Many people like to steal ATVs because they are valuable and easy to use.
When you park your ATV, you should find a location where there are no people standing around. The best location to park or store an ATV is an enclosed garage, but you can put yours in a backyard or driveway. You should turn your engine off and use a wheel lock to keep your vehicle in place.
Do not leave anything valuable inside your ATV. This includes personal bags and coats. Keep your license and paperwork related to your ATV in your pocket.
5. Being Reckless on Trails
Most ATV trails are safe, yet every trail has its own dangers. Do your research on the ATV trail you will ride on and see what the conditions are like.
Take it slow and stay in the middle of the trail unless you need to avoid obstacles. Keep your eyes forward and scan your surroundings for any dangers.
Do not go for off-trail rides on your ATV until you have gathered experience. If you do go off-trail, find flat terrain to ride on and go with a buddy so you can get help if you get into an accident.
Never ride your ATV on ice or near water. Ten people died in ATV accidents between 2018 and 2021 after driving an ATV over a patch of ice. The ice can break and cause you to drown or freeze to death.
Avoiding ATV Mistakes
ATV mistakes can cost you your life. Go slowly as you’re learning how to drive an ATV, and never push your vehicle to its limits. Wear a helmet, pads, and other pieces of safety gear.
Maintain your ATV with regular inspections, oil changes, and lubrication. Never leave your ATV alone while the engine is running, and store your vehicle in a secure location. Keep to trails and avoid ice, moving water, and other obstacles.
Let the experts help you with your ATV. Muskoka Powersports serves ATV drivers in the Muskoka area. Contact us today.